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I can't imagine surviving ADD without my dogs. My current boy is a very calm Golden Retreiver named Alby. I have had a lot of fun training him and have learned a lot from him. Unlike humans, his body language is always consistant and easy to read. I work very hard on keeping my body language consistant for him.

I have long thought that pets can provide a level of assistance for people with ADDHD but I have never come across any research. I find that I am much calmer when Alby is with me and he makes being social so much easier. He is a great segway. Does anyone have similar thoughts or know of any research in this area?

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Lou,

You touch on one of the keen interest in my life: Psychiatric Service Dogs. My Aussie, Lizzy is trained primarily to mediate the effects of my PTSD and depression, but there are certain tasks she performs (reminding me to take meds, interrupting hyperfocus, waking me up in the morning and reminding me to go to bed) that could arguably be a result of my ADD too.

I don't think there is specific research on Service Dogs and ADD. However, some of the people I know who have Service Dogs also have ADD. It is a long and complex process to train a Service Dog, but you can explore the topic more here:

http://www.psychdog.org/

One thing to keep in mind is that a Service Dog is not a pet - they are a working animal. The foundation skills used to train a Service Dog are similar to those used in humane training of pets, but expanded upon in many ways. It takes a lot of time, consistency and practice to train a Service Dog, and to maintain their skills. Another option that may be appealing is to train your pet dog to do some Animal Assisted Therapy (see http://www.deltasociety.org) or do dog sports with your dog for a therapeutic effect.
You are correct. My golden is registered with the Delta society as a therapy dog. I am currently raising a Borzoi puppy with that in mind too. I would like to do more work with Alby. He so wonderful with kids.

After 911, I took my geryhound Rocky, also a therapy dog to the family assistance center at Pier 94. We worked with the children in the day care area and it was amazing. At times we would walk around to see who may have a need for this gentle giant. He was hugged, cuddled, and petted by the volunteers, police, and family members.
Hi Lou,

I also have a Psychiatric Service Dog. He is a 4 year old Pekingese and I have been training him since he was a puppy. Most of his skills are related to my PTSD and anxiety/depression (am I sounding like Frances Finley?? the other woman who posted under this discussion!). I am not very active in the PSD community online, but I would also recommend www.psychdog.org if you are looking for info on Psychiatric Service Dogs.

You might also consider an emotional support animal if you are not looking to train and work with one dog for the rest of his/her life or yours. It sounds like you have been very lucky to have some great dogs in your life, and while it may seem like a great thing to be able to take your dog with you everywhere, it is A LOT of work! I would gladly trade my disabilities in and leave my dog at home and have him just be a pet! So I guess, just research, research, research before making any decisions!

Megan Ann

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